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-   -   Loose "canon", tie it down! (http://www.startrekmovie.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4540)

Sybock 12-01-2008 09:51 PM

Loose "canon", tie it down!
 
Who thinks "Canon" should be shot out a Cannon? That word pops up in almost every post.

Why is so important to some people? And why do people get so upset when it is not followed?

Who like me doesn't care and why?

The Saint 12-01-2008 10:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sybock (Post 125644)
Who thinks "Canon" should be shot out a Cannon? That word pops up in almost every post.

Why is so important to some people? And why do people get so upset when it is not followed?

Biggest reason, honestly? Many of us view Star Trek as not hundreds of different stories, but as a single story told over hundreds of installments. In that sense, when one part of that expansive collective story has a tiny inconsistency, such as a middle initial or the color of a button on the wall, we don't much mind. But when a whole installment contradicts everything else, or even when there's a really sizable percentage of a single installment that does, we feel like we're being played for suckers.

As for why some people don't care? Couldn't say, since I do care. But I got warned for hazarding a guess, and so I'll try to rephrase it in a way that shouldn't offend anybody: that guess is that some folks just don't give a rip about the cohesiveness of the story.

Cannibal 12-01-2008 10:53 PM

I think canon is one of the things that has always endeared the fans to Star Trek. The idea that it's more than just a "story" or even a series of stories. It's an entire universe with an entire history.
Obviously, some of us don't cling to canon as closely as others do. But to completely disregard it would definitely be a mistake.

JSnyder4 12-01-2008 11:08 PM

Q: Who like me doesn't care and why?

I sure don't.
Here's why: Because it has gotten to the point of being beyond even a daily soap opera level. One big endlessly long and overly complex story with fans who nit-pick even the smallest of details. Daily soap operas have more of a culturally acceptable fan base because they and the public know it's not taken seriously and it's own history can be re-written wholesale if need be to make the current story work. It's a guilty pleasure for them, not some quasi-religion to be written down in a bible and coveted by acolytes of a Hitleresque secret society.

Star Wars fans are almost as bad, and I am glad to see Lucas giving them the not so subtle one-fingered salute while he's still around and kicking as a reminder that it's all in fun and to not be so serious about a friggin' story.

Bright Eyes 12-01-2008 11:26 PM

Before someone borrowed the term 'canon' in relation to Star Trek, it used to be referred to as 'continuity'. It is the concept that there is a consistency in the integrity of the continuing aspects of any series, not just Star Trek. In fact, I prefer the term 'continuity' over 'canon' for something like series television or series movies.

The point of continuity (or canon) is that it helps establish the show and the truth of the characters and the themes and the details for the long term viewers. The casual viewer may not care where Anakin was born (for example), but a watcher of all the Star Wars movies would object if, after having established his home planet as Tatooine, his home was later described as being Delaware.

Likewise for Star Trek, continuity establishes details of the technology, the back stories of the principle characters, and the histories of the episodes that have been made. If one episode shows Spock to be a vegetarian, then it isn't good for a later episode to show him sitting down with relish to a juicy sirloin steak (unless there is a justifiable story point, like Spock is possessed by an alien entity who likes sirloin). A change of this order would immediately strike the viewer who knows better as being a major error.

I hope it is plain that continuity, or canon, is the friend of good story telling, and not the enemy. If adhered to, it forces writers to write better stories than if they just take short cuts to make an exciting scene by throwing continuity out of the window.

Perhaps contrary to appearances, most people who support continuity don't get bent out of shape about really minor errors, but merely point them out for interest's sake. There is a concern in the minds of some that JJA's movie won't contain merely small violations of continuity, but whopping big ones. This isn't proven yet, but it is a fear.

If the details of the story depart too much from what has gone before, it will not be reconcilable with what is already known, which does violence to the overarching Star Trek story, especially as this movie is a prequel and therefore sets the stage for all the Trek that comes afterwards.

I hope this helps.

I-Am-Zim 12-02-2008 05:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bright Eyes (Post 125667)
Before someone borrowed the term 'canon' in relation to Star Trek, it used to be referred to as 'continuity'. It is the concept that there is a consistency in the integrity of the continuing aspects of any series, not just Star Trek. In fact, I prefer the term 'continuity' over 'canon' for something like series television or series movies.

The point of continuity (or canon) is that it helps establish the show and the truth of the characters and the themes and the details for the long term viewers. The casual viewer may not care where Anakin was born (for example), but a watcher of all the Star Wars movies would object if, after having established his home planet as Tatooine, his home was later described as being Delaware.

Likewise for Star Trek, continuity establishes details of the technology, the back stories of the principle characters, and the histories of the episodes that have been made. If one episode shows Spock to be a vegetarian, then it isn't good for a later episode to show him sitting down with relish to a juicy sirloin steak (unless there is a justifiable story point, like Spock is possessed by an alien entity who likes sirloin). A change of this order would immediately strike the viewer who knows better as being a major error.

I hope it is plain that continuity, or canon, is the friend of good story telling, and not the enemy. If adhered to, it forces writers to write better stories than if they just take short cuts to make an exciting scene by throwing continuity out of the window.

Perhaps contrary to appearances, most people who support continuity don't get bent out of shape about really minor errors, but merely point them out for interest's sake. There is a concern in the minds of some that JJA's movie won't contain merely small violations of continuity, but whopping big ones. This isn't proven yet, but it is a fear.

If the details of the story depart too much from what has gone before, it will not be reconcilable with what is already known, which does violence to the overarching Star Trek story, especially as this movie is a prequel and therefore sets the stage for all the Trek that comes afterwards.

I hope this helps.

That was absolutely perfect. I couldn't have said it better myself. You have put into words what I have been trying to say for quite a while. Very well written and eloquently verbalized. Thank you!

Borgman 12-02-2008 06:00 AM

I dont go in for the nit picking but i do think it should follow some sort of lines in a story or it just makes a mockery of it all dont you agree?

Saquist 12-02-2008 02:43 PM

I concur.

radoskal 12-02-2008 03:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JSnyder4 (Post 125665)
Q: Who like me doesn't care and why?

I sure don't.
Here's why: Because it has gotten to the point of being beyond even a daily soap opera level. One big endlessly long and overly complex story with fans who nit-pick even the smallest of details. Daily soap operas have more of a culturally acceptable fan base because they and the public know it's not taken seriously and it's own history can be re-written wholesale if need be to make the current story work. It's a guilty pleasure for them, not some quasi-religion to be written down in a bible and coveted by acolytes of a Hitleresque secret society.

Star Wars fans are almost as bad, and I am glad to see Lucas giving them the not so subtle one-fingered salute while he's still around and kicking as a reminder that it's all in fun and to not be so serious about a friggin' story.

Hitleresque secret society? Excuse me? Where do you even get off saying something like that.

If Trek fans were a hitleresque secret society they would go around killing fans of other franchises and proclaiming their franchise to be the master incarnation of all scifi. I haven't seen anyone doing that thank the gods.

As for Star Wars...early on Lucas made the distinct point of saying that His films are one continuity and that the Expanded Universe...(Books comics, ect) are another...considering that..Lucas has maintained excelent continuity across all Seven of his films, counting clone wars, and the clone wars television series.

Seriously, you don't like emphasis being placed on continuity, that's fine...but we who find it important are NOT loonies, NOT in a secret society devoted to Trek above all else, and certainly not bowing down and praying to The Great Bird of the Galaxy.

Everyone else..great posts.

jerhanner 12-02-2008 03:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sybock (Post 125644)
Who thinks "Canon" should be shot out a Cannon? That word pops up in almost every post.

Why is so important to some people? And why do people get so upset when it is not followed?

Who like me doesn't care and why?

The soap opera reference someone made was very apt. Heck, even Rodenberry thought it could be reinvented.
I'm not saying this to be snarky, but I think sometimes people project a little too much - if their lives aren't all that fufilling, they can latch onto something that makes them feel good, and then heaven help anyone that threatens their obsession.


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